In his hauntingly beautiful and masterfully executed oil paintings, Ryden creates his own contemporary mythologies whose archetypes include fairy tale creatures, historical figures, and pop cultural icons. Seamlessly juxtaposing macabre motifs like meat grinders and disembodied presidents with eye-pleasing ingénues and seductive landscapes, the artist produces a vision of society in which menace and comfort are inseparably interwoven.
Mark Ryden was born in Medford, Oregon and received his BFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1987. His solo debut show entitled "The Meat Show" in Pasadena, California in 1998 featured works such as The Birth of Venus, and The Pumpkin President. Recent exhibitions include a mid-career retrospective “Wondertoonel” at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle and the Pasadena Museum of California Art (2004-2005); “The Gay 90’s: Old Tyme Art Show” at Paul Kasmin Gallery (Spring 2010) and "The Gay 90's West" at Michael Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles, through June 28, 2014.